On the surface, it would appear that the Senators have lost this trade. NHL Jerseys
After all, Michalek has scored just six goals since January 1st and Cheechoo has been playing in the AHL for the past six weeks. Kovalev, meantime, has produced just one goal in 16 games since the Olympic break.
Heatley is putting up his usual Heatley numbers, collecting 80 points on one of the most dangerous lines in the NHL.
Advantage San Jose, right?
Not so fast.
The Senators actually acquired one other forward in the Dany Heatley trade: A brand new Jason Spezza.
With one week left in the regular season, it's a fitting time to analyze who won the big trade between San Jose and Ottawa back in September.
The Senators were supposed to replace Dany Heatley's missing offense with a collection of three forwards they picked up in his place.
MIlan Michalek and Jonathan Cheechoo, whom they acquired in the trade from San Jose, and Alexei Kovalev, who was signed as a free agent when it became clear that Heatley was not going to return for another season.
Since coming back from an injury in mid-January, Spezza has been dominant. He's collected 36 points in 28 games (17 goals, 19 assists) - stats that are worthy of his $7 million salary.
More importantly, he's not playing like a one-dimensional player, who is always looking to set up his sniper. This new Jason Spezza shoots the puck more. He moves his feet better in the neutral zone. He carries the puck with more confidence. He backchecks with more intensity. He plays in the final minute of a game with the Senators protecting a one-goal lead.
Yes, he still turns the puck over, but not with the same frequency that we've seen in the past.
Probably not. They are still entering the post-season with the same questions they faced 12 months ago.
Trades are all about making your team better from the previous year. Which is why - to this point - the Senators have won the Dany Heatley trade.
For the first quarter of the season, Spezza looked lost, as he tried to battle through a back injury and play without his longtime sidekick. Now, he looks comfortable, confident and dominant and he's been as productive as any other NHL centre in the past three months.
The fear in Ottawa was that Spezza needed Heatley to survive; that maybe he was a modern-day incarnation of Craig Janney - an offensively-talented centre, who could only thrive with a sniper on his wing.
But it turns out that Spezza doesn't need Heatley as much as we thought - and neither do the Senators.
And all things considered, the Senators are a better team today than they were a year ago when they had Heatley. Can we say the same thing about San Jose - are they better than they were a year ago?